For years it’s been assumed that Michael Jordan had something to do with Isiah Thomas being left off the Dream Team that took the 1992 Olympics by storm.
Sunday’s broadcast of “The Last Dance” didn’t do anything to dispel that belief. In the ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Jordan called Thomas an “a--hole” and said that his “hate” for Thomas’ Pistons teams “carries to this day.”
Thorn: Jordan didn’t mention Thomas
But one of the primary architects of the Dream Team appeared to put that notion to bed on Wednesday. Hall of Fame basketball executive Rod Thorn told ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” that Jordan never brought Thomas up in discussions with him about the Dream Team.
Thorn initially talked with Jordan about joining the Olympic team and said that Jordan didn’t mention Thomas’ name.
"There was never anything in my conversation with [Jordan] that had to do with Isiah Thomas, period," Thorn said. ... “He said, 'I'll do it.' Isiah's name never came up during that conversation.”
Thorn, who was the general manager of the Bulls when they drafted Jordan in 1984, was the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations in 1992. He also chaired the USA Basketball Men's National Team Selection Committee and was in charge of assembling the Dream Team.
If Jordan lobbied to keep Thomas off the team, it was news to him.
"Now, if that in fact happened, then it happened with somebody else,” Thorn continued. ... “He didn't say anything to me about [Thomas], and I certainly had no reason to bring it up, either.”
So why wasn’t Thomas on the team?
If Thomas wasn’t blackballed from the Dream Team, then it raises an obvious question. Why wasn’t Thomas — a two-time NBA champion fresh off his 11th straight All-Star campaign — invited to play on the Dream Team?
“That's a good question, because Isiah was a great player, a fantastic player,” Thorn said. “There was some controversy with the Pistons regarding not shaking hands with the Bulls — there was some bad blood, obviously, there. ... But when we ended up going with the first 10 guys, he did not end up making the team.”
Thorn noted James Worthy, Reggie Miller and Dominique Wilkins as other notable players left off the team.
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